By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Ilonggo guard John Bryan Sajonia shot the lights out and sparked San Beda University’s comeback effort to hand the Far Eastern University (FEU) a loss, 72-71, in the ongoing Pinoyliga Collegiate Cup last May 23, 2023.
The former Santa Clarita International School of Iloilo stepped up when San Beda needed him the most and erupted for 24 points, 10 rebounds, six steals, three assists, and two blocks.
Sajonia went unconscious midway through the second quarter and helped San Beda chip away the lead FEU built after a waxing-hot performance from the three-point line.
Despite FEU keeping a body on Sajonia every time he touched the leather, the Ilonggo scorer still found ways to operate and attacked the rim when the Tamaraws started to guard him outside the paint.
Aside from his offensive prowess, Sajonia also led San Beda’s defensive rally in the third quarter and swiped the ball away six times that generated more scoring opportunities for the Red Lions.
Although the Tamaraws were able to strike back after several baskets from Xyrus Torres and Cholo Anonuevo, Sajonia and the hungry Lions answered the call with big-time baskets.
With only 13 seconds remaining in the game, former UP Fighting Maroon member Bismarck Lina completed the come-from-behind win after drilling a clutch floater shot.
The savvy big man backstopped Sajonia and registered 12 points, seven assists, and two rebounds while Zane Jalbuena added 10 markers.
Leading the Tamaraws during the losing effort was Torres, who tallied 13 points and four rebounds while Anonuevo had a solid all-around game of 10 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
With the win, the Red Lions prevented a disappointing 0-3 start in the prestigious college hoops tournament and entered the winning column for the first time.